Zamalek's outgoing coach Mohamed Helmi (Ahram)
Mohamed Helmi stepped down as Zamalek coach late on Wednesday following the team’s second defeat by South Africa’s Mamelodi Sundowns in 10 days, the club’s outspoken chairman Mortada Mansour said.
A late own goal by defender Ali Gabr condemned Zamalek to another African Champions League loss to Sundowns, this time in Pretoria as the hosts advanced to the competition’s semi-final with one match to spare following a 1-0 win.
Despite their defeat, Zamalek will still book a last-four berth if they avoid a defeat at home to Nigeria’s Enyimba in their final Group B clash.
However, Mansour, who is known for his fiery temper, reacted quickly by saying he had accepted the resignation of Helmi, who took over at the club following the sacking of Scottish Alex McLeish in May.
“Helmi’s replacement will be a foreigner. We are choosing between Argentinean Enzo Trossero and Belgian Georges Leekens,” the controversial lawyer said in a television interview following the match.
Zamalek have made a fine start under Helmi, embarking on a 12-match unbeaten streak that ended by a bitter 2-1 loss to Sundowns in Cairo on 17 July.
They finished as runners-up to Cairo rivals Ahly in the Egyptian Premier League but could still save the season by winning the domestic cup and Champions League.
The White Knights have won the last of their five Champions League trophies in 2002 and have not reached the semi-final since 2005.
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